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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) shakes hands with his Palestinian counterpart Riyad Al-Maliki ahead of their meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, China April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Parker Song/Pool

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Palestinians must be allowed to build an independent state, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday after meeting Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, who pushed Beijing to do more in the Middle East peace process.

Chinese envoys occasionally visit Israel and the Palestinian Territories, though China has traditionally played little role in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy, despite its reliance on the region for oil.

Wang told a joint press briefing with Maliki that 70 years after a U.N. resolution was passed on a plan for a Jewish state, Palestinians are still being prevented from having their own independent country.

"This is unfair. This kind of historical injustice must be corrected. It cannot continue," Wang said.

It was time to overcome inertia and restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, he said.

Maliki said Palestinians appreciated and welcomed China's efforts to facilitate peace.

"And we do encourage China to do more of this kind of approach, in order to see peace ultimately achieved in our region," he added.

Beijing has traditionally had a good relationship with the Palestinians.

The Middle East, however, is fraught with risk for China, a country that has little experience navigating the religious and political tensions that frequently rack the region.

China's President Xi Jinping told visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March that peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine would be good for both parties and the region, and that it was favoured by the international community.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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